An independent investigation uncovered widespread misconduct and abuse within women’s professional soccer in the United States. The report states that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which is governed by the US Soccer Federation (USSF), failed to provide a safe environment for players. This was revealed after more than 200 interviews were conducted confirming the same.
“Our investigation has revealed a league (NWSL) in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” the report reads. “Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players.”
According to US Soccer Federation president, Cindy Parlow Cone, at least three more instances of misconduct have come to light after the publication of this report.
“One of the great things to come out of this report is that it is encouraging more people to come forward,” Parlow Cone said during separate interviews with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on New Day and Amanda Davies on CNN World Sport.
The findings came roughly a year after the league plunged into chaos as a result of a damning report by The Athletic revealing accusations of sexual coercion and assault against Paul Riley. The North Carolina Courage sacked Riley after The Athletic obtained statements from players stating that Riley had sexually harassed them for years and had even coerced one player into having sex with him. Riley coached three NWSL franchises over the course of eight seasons.
The league announced on Monday that it would examine the findings and that a joint inquiry with the players’ union was ongoing. The results of the study should be made public in November.